Prostitution and Purity
in Empire and sexuality
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In America in 1858 Dr W. Sanger believed that a good half of New York prostitutes entered the profession attracted by the way of life, by the need to combat loneliness: many were immigrants. In Africa, John Iliffe observes, 'prostitution was certainly not a one-way ticket to poverty'. Recent studies of prostitutes in Western Australia and South Australia also emphasise the positive self-image many prostitutes held of themselves, and reject the old stereotypes about 'pariah sisterhoods of shame'. Chinese and Japanese prostitution operated mainly on a contractual basis. In the geography of white slavery the main route was from Europe to Latin America, especially to Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. Official reaction against sexual opportunism began in earnest with the Purity Campaign launched in 1869 by Josephine Butler, which was perhaps bound to be exported overseas.

Empire and sexuality

The British Experience

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